Maybe cancer; maybe not

My prostate antigen level in April of 2011 was two. This April, it was 4.5. This week, it’s 4.9. I’ve had a few biopsies over the years—including one of my lower abdomen and another of a neck vertebrae for which the surgeon had to go through the front of my throat—but I never believed I had cancer. This time, I think I do.

I would hate like hell to leave Peggy alone. I would also hate to leave my "bloggy friends" as Nollyposh used to call them (she was one of four bloggy friends I lost to cancer). A lot of people will find out that they're dying just in the time it takes to write this post, and that won't be long because I'm still doing my experiment with minimal editing.

A few years ago my 56-year-old neighbor, John, drove three hours, climbed a 10,358-foot peak (3,157 meters), and drove home. I saw him that evening, and he complained of fatigue. I laughed, but he said that, no, this fatigue was different. He died a year later of prostate cancer. (I can hardly hold out to clean house anymore, which is one of the reasons I think I have cancer). John died next door, but I never went to see him because I didn’t really know him, and I wasn’t sure I would be welcome. He was also a lawyer, and I hate lawyers. I now wish I had gone because it would have been the right thing to do. I also like being around people who are dying.

Doc Martin is phobic of blood; Nurse Peggy is phobic of cancer. She's so scared that she’s been having to struggle to keep from hyperventilating. 

I've often wondered whether it would be easier to have a terminal illness than to live in pain. One advantage of living in pain is that I have a sense of time stretching before me, and that gives me reason to hope that I will either beat the pain eventually or at least learn to tolerate it better.

My odds of survival are probably good even if I have cancer, but there’s still that 3% chance that I’ll be dead within five years. After ten years, the chance is 30%, and it keeps going downhill from there. As cancer goes, only lung cancer kills more Americans than prostate cancer.

I won’t be getting any more teeth crowned until I have a prognosis. The damn dentist crowned one in January, and that alone drained my insurance for the rest of the year. He wanted to crown another one in April, but I said no, so he squirted some gook into the hole in the hope that it will last until January 2013.

Helter Skelter captures my mood today just as it captured the mood of America in the late ‘60s. To represent the early ‘60s, I chose Johnny Angel. How, in a single decade, do you go from songs about cars and teenage romance to songs about drugs, death, defeat, confusion, alienation, insanity, and injustice?

I like things that mess with my head, so I like Helter Skelter. The good thing about music is that I can turn it off if it gets too intense. With real life, I have to divide myself into two parts. One part thinks, feels, and acts; the other part dispassionately observes the part that thinks, feels, and acts. Pain can become so consuming that it draws my observer part into it, and that's when I go to pieces. I assume that this can also be true of cancer. I really must learn to do better, and I think I'm succeeding. I've felt stronger than ever since my meltdown on Sunday.

P.S. Shelley Fabares is a goddess.